Satoru Iwata: Customers Understanding The Wii U "Will Take a Little Time"
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
"We aim to leave a smile on our customer's faces"
With a New Year and Nintendo's upcoming announcement of its Q3 financial results, Satoru Iwata and his team have plenty to think about. 2013 will be an important year to continue momentum on 3DS with big releases, and more importantly to grow the Wii U audience as much as possible.
Speaking to Japanese newspaper Nikkei — translated on NeoGaf — Satoru Iwata spoke of a patient, calm approach from the company, while admitting that spreading the message about Wii U and helping consumers understand the concept will take time. In terms of the GamePad, the core innovation of the system, he spoke about how the company was working on the concept before the iPad arrived on the scene, while also sneaking in a line to suggest that the load times on the system are indeed in line for improvement.
Setting aside the satisfaction some purchasers have with start-up and software change speeds, which we will improve, speaking only of the 2-screens, people find that they enjoy the Gamepad more than they thought when they actually hold it themselves. People realize the importance and benefits of having a personal screen that works in conjunction with the TV the more they use it, slowly, but that doesn't transfer to people who have yet to use the system.
...We began talking about having another screen being a good idea around 2008. We thought thoroughly about our other options, but in the end, this was the idea which was the most logical for us. So, in 2009, just as we began to press forward with this idea, sure that we were on the right track, this thing called an 'Ipad' came into the world.
Some of the most detailed quotes attributed to Iwata focus on Miiverse, with the Nintendo President again emphasizing the importance of empathy and giving Nintendo gamers more social interaction with each other.
The outlook for Nintendo fans on social networking services such as Twitter is worsening. If we look into it, the people who used to post about Nintendo are satisfied with Miiverse and have stopped posting online as much.
When we first spoke about Miiverse, we were told that trying to make a social network now was a fool's errand. We were asked by many people why we weren't simply connecting up with Twitter or Facebook. But, what we thought would be good about the service has largely come true and, as of right now, our customers are really enjoying it. The networks of people on Facebook and Twitter aren't all people you are playing games with, right? From my viewpoint, I don't use Twitter or Facebook [privately] but if I were to, it would be about things like 'Hey, wanna go for a drink?' 'Wanna go on a trip?' 'Why don't we have a class reunion?', and so on, it wouldn't be just about the people who I am playing games with. Because I couldn't tell my high school buddies that I had got a high score in Mario Kart. (Laughs)
We, Nintendo, have always thought this, but games shouldn't just be about the time you spend with a console, but also telling people that you passed something, or that you found a neat trick is interesting. If I were to put a name on it, it would be empathy.
Mr. [Shigeru] Miyamoto has been talking about this concept for years, the reason that the games that he makes are popular around the world is that they have that meta-shared experience between players. Mr. Miyamoto likes making you feel that, and giving you the ability to feel that. It was at a time thinking about that that we received the original idea for Miiverse. Like 'Ah, this is an empathy network.'
So, with 'empathy' as a theme, we created Miiverse to make games played alone not a lonely experience, but one that you could experience with many people. In order to make that a reality, we had to integrate it into our platform, and support it as a unified service.
This could be interpreted as a recognition, partially, of the well-worn reality of Nintendo gamers being perceived as playing "kiddie" games, such as a shyness about making Mario Kart boasts on an open network. Or perhaps we're reading too much into that...
The general focus in the introduction and conclusion was that neither Satoru Iwata nor the company as a whole is panicked or obsessed by the upcoming financial results; the long-term picture still seems to be the priority. Nintendo shares did drop after the Wii U launch, though the recent North American sales results prompted a share price increase of over 5%. For Satoru Iwata, however, the goals of making gamers happy are directly tied to the company's business fate.
We aim to leave a smile on our customer's faces, no matter whether it's the game being interesting, a parent and child talking about gaming, or a grandfather being able to remain cheerful. Because it's worth doing, our staff can smile too. If our performance rises, so too our investors smile. If this chain is successful, Nintendo can be something worth keeping and continuing, and we can fulfill our responsibility to society.